Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week in Review

64 miles
10M with 2 x 2 miles at 544, 537, 2:00 jog rest, 535, 537
16.2M long run at 651 average
1 day off
2 rock climbing sessions

This week marked the first week that I've had a formal training plan from Coach T-bone in a long, long time.  And every moment was wonderful.  I don't know if it's because I unintentionally lost 7 pounds or if it's because I really haven't trained hard since August of last year, but I'm feeling like a badass.  I'm itching to race and to test my fitness, but I'm being patient.  I nailed the 2 x 2 mile workout, by hitting much faster paces than Terry prescribed on the plan. AND I was solo.  From previous posts, you should know that I'm a freaking baby when it comes to working out solo, but I've apparently found a new strength.  Probably because of my life situation.


Before the long holiday weekend fully kicked off, I got in 16 miles with Heather on Canada Road.  I loved every part except 1) running over what may have been a rattle snake and 2) the lack of shade.  But the course was great, with slightly rolling hills and then tons of cyclists with really nice, muscular calves for me to admire for a split second as they whizzed past me.  Overall, I wanted to get a few more miles in this week, but I decided to take off one day because I was starting to feel a tickle in my throat and because I wanted to rock climb with my new friend Armon.  All is well in the world as long as I'm making healthy choices that keep me happy. And I was happy taking that day off.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week in Review

66 miles
11.5M with 10 x 90s on / off
15 mile long run with 5 miles in 617, 607, 619, 615, 608, 1.5M rest in 6:40 pace, 3 miles in 601, 554, 601, 535
1 lift day
1 rock climbing session
0 days off

Another successful week down in the books, but with a couple of hiccups along the way.  First, Jenna and I ran a workout together on Tuesday and it went great.  Then I drove home, and right before I pulled into my apartment complex, a guy in his car plowed straight into my car and broadsided me.  It was scary because 1) I had the right of way and looked up to unexpectedly find a car coming straight for my door and 2) I didn't want the side airbag to go off so I tried to avoid as bad of a collision by positioning my car so he would hit closer to my rear passenger door.   Fortunately, I wasn't hurt and my side air bag didn't go off! And, the guy (my neighbor), was super helpful and accommodating.  He was willing to accept responsibility and he called his insurance immediately to get the process going.

Then, later that week, again during a long run workout with Jenna, we were flagged down by a woman walking.  We are assholes, so we obviously were not going to stop since we were in the middle of a tempo mile, even after she asked us if we had a phone.  Then she said: "There's a dead body over there." And we immediately stopped. Did I feel guilty? YES.  She told us where the body was, that she didn't suspect foul play and that it was likely a homeless man. I couldn't help but think well at least he died in a very peaceful place, with lots of sounds of nature, water and birds surrounding him.  It was a weird way to start the day, especially after we ran past the body on the bench.   It definitely made me feel grateful for the food and shelter that I take for granted every single day.

The rest of the weekend was spent with Liz.  we got in some miles together, spent time in the city with our Wake Forest teammates and went to quite possibly one of the worst live DJ shows ever.  Regardless, it gave us a way to tell a great story later.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

(Duke Graduation) Week in Review

65 Miles
Workout 1:  10 miles total with 4.25M of 13 x 1 min on/off with mile splits of 602, 558, 555, 545, 521 for the last .25M
15M long run in Durham
4 days in Durham

I'm finally starting up my week in review again! This is a new day, a new leaf, a new CAITLIN!  To bring you up to speed, I've run 60 miles the past 2-3 weeks, so this was the first time that I've cracked any mileage over 60 in a very, very long time.  I also made the decision to not follow any formal training plan.  Instead, I decided to use the last couple of weeks to run with Jenna, who is training for the Grandma's Marathon.  It's been a perfect way for us to get to know each other better and for me to get into shape again.

This week, I front-loaded my mileage by taking advantage of having Meagan in town - we did 30+ miles in 3 days without any doubles. If I get a chance to train again with my favorite Olympic Trials race buddy, then I'm going to capitalize on the opportunity.  We enjoyed an awesome minuters workout together, which is one very difficult way to still run a tempo. I purposely kept the jog rest at a medium effort (around 640-650 pace) so that I could keep the overall mile splits around 6:00.  This was the first real workout where I realized that I'm in pretty damn good shape. I'm finally starting to get excited about racing again. I haven't had a good race since April of 2015, and I'm chomping at the bit to cross a finish line feeling strong and confident.

The rest of the week was spent in Durham, NC, where I walked across the stage to earn a degree from the number one business school in the country (at least from last year's rankings!).  I couldn't be more proud of my classmates for all that we accomplished.  16 months, 5 countries, 100s of hours of class, 90,000 airline miles, 105 new friends, 16 different courses, 3 sicknesses, and the list goes on.  In between graduation festivities, I spent time with my mom and dad who have been my foundation ever since they brought me into this world.  They taught me how to dream big, run fast and achieve goals.  My friends Danielle and Chad even drove in to watch me cross the stage, so in between catching up with my classmates, I was able to get the most out of my Duke tuition dollars by inviting them to the luncheon where they could eat/drink as much as possible at the seafood and liquor bars.

Of course, the weekend would not have been complete without a run with my favorite Durham boys, who have helped me in so many ways beyond just my own training.  They ave picked up stuff from my old porch, stored my random boxes and supported me when my life was turned upside down.  Getting in 15 miles with them in the disgusting NC humidity was memorable, even if I mostly just recall the squishy shoes that Alan and I were rocking.

As much as I enjoyed my time in NC, I'm ready to get back to CA to continue meeting new people and soaking in that California sunshine.

Dad and I enjoyed a walk on Saturday
I had the honor of speaking at graduation!

Duke Fuqua CCMBA Class of 2015

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'm baaack!

Well, that was a long, long hiatus.  It's been more than three months that I've written and I'm disappointed in myself...even though I know that only Kishor and my mom have been checking back at my site to see if I've updated.

What's happened in the last three months?  Well, I toed the start line of my second Olympic Trials Marathon.  I didn't finish, but I outlined the reasons why here in advance of the race.  Instead, I ran 9 miles in blistering heat at around 6:10-6:15 pace with just under 4 weeks of solid training under my belt.  I was damn proud.  There's a lot more to say on that topic, but I'll save that for another day.

After that, I went to Kauai with my family and best friends.  We hiked, fell in rivers, got our feet muddy, crashed every single resort pool in Poipu, tanned, sang (terribly) to Disney classics, laughed deep belly laughs and ate entirely too much.

And then my life changed. At first, I was terrified and worried, because the future I felt I had a strong hold on, suddenly just slipped through my fingers, right in front of my eyes.  But there's been a reason for my absence.  I needed time to discover that not having any idea what my "future" looks like is one of the greatest gifts life awards us.  In reading The Alchemist, it helped me begin my quest to realize my Personal Legend.  I am finding that anything is possible, it's okay to dream and to yearn for every single thing I would like to see happen to me in my life.  This is how I am taking one step forward, every single day.  I have no ties to anything except the people who care deeply for me and I will march forward with them by my side, both spiritually and physically.

I'll go into more detail later, because I think it's important, but now is not the time.  Currently, my focus has been on building those friendships that I had neglected here in the Bay Area. I want to create a new West Coast family of friends so that I have a solid foundation and community to keep me strong.  Running is obviously a start, but I also want to expand my social circles to others as well, so I joined a rock climbing gym, went to some meetups and frequent the city much more often.  I finally started living out my life in the West, and the first four weeks have been more than I could have ever asked for.

And for this, I am grateful.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A 9-5er, non-contender, non-finisher heading to the Olympic Trials!

noun | nine·two·fiv·er
: a person who works 9 to 5

noun | non·con·ten·der
: a person who has no chance of winning in a contest

noun | non·fin·ish·er
: a person who starts something but does not finish it

Why, yes, I'm toeing the start line at my second Olympic Trials marathon.  But, there's a catch.

If you read the headline closely enough, you'll realize that I don't plan on crossing the finish line of the (second) most important race of my life.  Gulp.

Don't worry, I've come to terms with my predicament because I still have the privilege to toe the line alongside our country's best distance runners. Numerous people have had to drop out from the race, which is especially difficult for those professional runners whose entire livelihood depends on one major marathon a year, and, every four years, a hope for an Olympic berth.  Fortunately for me, running is not my career nor does my paycheck depend on my race performance.  As a non-contender, I never had the chance to make the Olympic team, but I do have the opportunity to pursue big dreams and to push myself to new limits.  The Olympic Trials marathon allows me to toe the line and compete with so many talented women who have poured countless miles, energy and mental stamina into this one endeavor.  It's an opportunity that merely puts us all on the big stage together, so that we can achieve our dreams one mile at time, side-by-side.

Unfortunately for me, I've battled a calf strain and an achilles issue since October 9th.  In the sixteen weeks leading up to the Trials, I envisioned:

  • 12 weeks of 85+ miles per week
  • 24 unique workouts
  • Four 22+ miles long runs

Nope.  Instead, this is what happened:

  • 44 consecutive days off from late November to early January
  • 5 weeks of running, at an average of 25 miles per week
  • 3 unique workouts
  • 8 miles longest run

Spent a lot of time with needles in me
You don't need any more information to understand why I'm not finishing the race.  It's too risky; it's practically delusional. Tendon injuries are fickle and unpredictable.  They could come back at anytime, and you don't know how long they'll bug you for.  So, I'm not finishing and that's that.

But the good news? I still get to toe the start line, run side-by-side with Meagan and help her achieve her goals. Because on Saturday, Meagan's goals will become mine.  My purpose is to make her race be as great as it can possibly be.  Because I'm by her side, providing encouragement, water and Gatorade, maybe even a wind block if necessary, I will take some of her stress away.

So on Saturday, I will toe the line and then I will gracefully bow out of the race when it seems necessary.  I have the honor to run a couple of miles, while my friends and family cheer loudly not only from the sidelines in LA, but also 3000 miles away from the comfort of their own homes, watching on NBC or tracking on their phones.  In that moment, I will feel the tremendous love and support from everyone who made it possible for me be there.  I am so grateful to have such a powerful support group.

And, damn, I definitely wouldn't have been able to toe that start line without the help of so many people:
A huge thanks to all of the people above.  They helped me believe when it mattered most, when my doubts were biggest.  They inspired me to believe I would start at the Trials.

Finally, some helpful information on the Trials coverage.

How to Watch the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon on NBC

Guide to the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 4: The Comeback

26.7 miles
5 Runs
2 Days off
2 workouts (7 x 300m repeats and 2 miles tempo at 6:00 average)
2 yoga classes
3 weight lifting days
6 hours of walking

This was my fourth week back running and I hit the same total of mileage that I would have completed in one race at the Olympic trials if I hadn't gotten injured. It's okay though, because I still get to toe the starting line!

This week, I went to my first Strava Track Club workout in probably two months.  I ran solo for some 300m repeats and cheered on the ladies as they sprinted really fast around me.  I was most pleased with my tempo effort on Saturday with Jenna, where I ran 6 total miles, with 2 miles at 606 and 551 pace.   Considering that my goal is to run a lap or two with Meagan at the Trials, I'm really pleased that I can run 6:00 average pace for a couple of miles.  This means that I can still run the pace I would have liked to run, albeit for a shorter distance.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Week 3: The Comeback

20 miles
5 days running, 2 days off
5.3 miles longest continuous run
1 lift day
2 sore calves

This week, I felt like my body was falling apart, but my two PTs from Durham reached out to me to reassure me that I was doing just fine.  My calves are sore, and my quads are killing me.  My left knee tightness came back and that completely freaked me out; I thought I was on the path to injury again.  I started foam rolling and resurrected even more rehab activities for me to be doing. I feel like I constantly live on the foam roller or on my yoga mat, doing crazy mobility drills.  I'll do whatever it takes for me to feel like a normal runner again.  The positive thing is that running is getting easier.  This unorthodox method back is going great, even though it's tough mentally and physically.  My lower back is still ridiculously tight, so I'm really beginning to think that I need a new mattress.  The one I have now is too firm and my back has been bad the whole time I've lived in California.

I also started going to the YMCA yoga classes on the weekends and they are the BOMB. I love them.  The instructors are great.  It's basically deep stretch classes and the bonus is that one of the instructors incorporates foam rolling into the practice.  SWEET!

Here's my week in review, for those who care about a different approach to coming back to running after taking 7 entire weeks completely off.

  • Monday: 2 x 10 in 6:00 with 1:00 rest, 8:00 in 5:56 pace for 4.8 miles total in 32:00 (also this was a stop rest), walked 2 hours for 6 miles total
  • Tuesday:  Off
  • Wednesday:  3 miles continuous in 6:40 pace, tired today
  • Thursday: 4 miles continuous on feel in 6:40 pace, felt way easier than yesterday , walked 3 miles to work
  • Friday:  5.3 miles in 6:31 average via 10 x 3:00 with 30s jog rest.  I did all intervals at 6;30-6:10 pace
  • Saturday:  6 miles hike, yoga
  • Sunday:  3 miles walk, yoga, lift, 3 miles in 21:00